Giulio Cesare Polerio

The Gambit of Giulio Cesare Polerio

About Polerio’s Gambit

Polerio Gambit in descriptive notation, transmission from Codex Vaticanus Ludovisi Boncompagni 3 (Codex van der Linde C) by Prof. Giovanni Baffioni

In a manuscript of Giulio Cesare Polerio,  dated by Giovanni Baffioni on 1579-1580, he stated that after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 gxf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.0-0 gxf3 6.Qxf3 White, although having lost a piece, has reached a winning position (waiving to provide further variations as it is sufficient to show to an experienced player the favourable position only but not the whole match).

In 1997 I followed the advice of Polerio in a rated CC match, Stock-Mayer 1997. I won but it created doubts in the theory of these days claiming that

a) the so called „double Muzio“ 6. – Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.Bxf7+ is favourable for black thanks to the move of Taubenhaus 8.- Kxf7 9. d4 Qf5 „best…“ Steinitz 1889.

b) the so called „classical variation“ 6. – Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.d3 promises a draw to White.

                 In ‚Das neue Königsgambit‘ by Stefan Bücker, 1986, the classical variation ended in a draw so that for White the so called ‚Abtauschvariante‘ 6. – Qf6 7.d3 is recommended, see

1986 Buecker DnK Kapitel VII (Muzio-Gambit, Klassische Hauptvariante 7.e5)
1986 Buecker DnK Kapitel VIII (Muzio-Gambit, Moderne Hauptvariante 7.d3)

In 2000 Kaissiber 13 was published

including the novelties 17.- Rf8! (Bücker/Stock 1997) in the classical variation, 9.b3!? (Stock 1999) in the Bello Gambit, as well as 13.Rae1 (Schlechter 1916) 13. – Nf6! (Stock 1998) in the so called Brentano variation.

In the year 2013 I have serious doubts in the correctness of the sacrifice 5.0-0 proposed by Polerio in 1579/80, i.e. I suppose that 4. – g4 is a good move (as good as 4. – Bg7), perhaps a comprehension irrelevant for the theory of the King’s gambit – but for me.

I would like using this blog to discuss this thesis, as well as giving some historical backgrounds on Polerio’s gambit.


2 Kommentare zu “About Polerio’s Gambit

  1. earl
    September 11, 2013

    Greetings Mr. Stock. I think 9.b3!? is about the only playable attempt for a win in the Muzio. I have actually managed to take a game of blitz off a former NZ champ using this very line.

  2. polerio
    September 12, 2013

    Dear chessfriend Earl,

    greetings to New Zealand! I’m glad to hear that there is interest in 9.b3 in the Bello gambit.

    A theoretical problem I see in this nice TGT 1 match annotated by chessfriend Fruth:

    Fruth, Manuel 2017–Heesen, Jos 1–0 C37 TGT 01.22 01.12.1999 [Fruth,M]:

    19.- cxd6 (in place of 19.- Qxd5) may have changed the result. Anyhow, the Fruth-Heesen is a match to study.



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